Handpicked by Kara Nielsen, CCD Innovation Trendologist
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A Look Backward & Forward: While trend spotters and journalists looked back over 2012 to compile lists of top trends gone by, we took a longer view. Thanks to our bi-monthly Culinary Trend Mapping Reports, we have a wealth of trend data to draw upon when making sense of the broader world of trend movement. To kick off 2013, we prepared a special Culinary Trend Mapping Report called A Look Backward & Forward, that analyzes the last four years of culinary trend activity—four years that included a tumultuous economic recession, the maturing of a potent food movement and urgent concern over sustainability—to see which trends moved up the Trend Map® and how today’s trend drivers have evolved. Along with continued consumer preoccupation with health and wellness and distinct shifts in demographics, these powerful drivers have shifted the culinary paradigm in the U.S. For good. Read full feature story »
Wild oats: Granola is spiffing up its image, in both artisan retail offerings and as sweet and savory garnish in fine dining. At OAK at Fourteenth in Boulder, rosemary and pistachio nut granola encrusts a piece of elk while a pine nut and citrus blend accompanies seared scallops or roasted sweet potatoes. On the retail side, chefs and inspired artisans are baking and bagging new concoctions of granola, selling them at specialty stores and farmers’ market and flea market stands. New ingredients to the mix include cacao nibs, black pepper, sweet potatoes, herbs and puffed grains such as farro or quinoa. Others subscribe to specialty diets such as gluten-free and raw. (New York Times, 2/19)
Specialty tea service grows at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf: Premium teas are becoming in vogue as more consumers learn to appreciate the unique qualities attached to specific grades, growths and terroirs of tea, similar to what’s happening in craft beer and Third Wave coffee. As the health claims of green tea become less of a driver, the experience and quality of tea is taking center stage, including tableside tea service for those with a little more time to relax are seeing at Coffee Bean & Tea. (Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN), 2/14)
Cabernet and jerky in the same sentence: Meat jerky continues to enjoy an image improvement with companies like Krave Jerky entering the category. Created by Jon Sebastiani, of the prominent Sebastiani wine family in Sonoma County, Krave is made with top cuts of domestic meats, low sodium and on-trend flavors, such as chili-lime and sweet chipotle. The jerky business overall is doing well thanks to growing consumer interest in protein-laden and better-for-you snacks. (New York Times, 2/16)
Homaro Cantu on miracle berries: At the Fancy Food Show, I ran into a booth run by a company called mberry serving up miracle berries. After eating the magical fruit, consumers then munch on raw lemons and limes to discover that the berry has somehow made the puckery citrus taste sweet. We encountered this experience some years ago and even replicated it at a CCD Innovation party five years ago, but at the Fancy Food Show? Turns out modernist chef Homaro Cantu of Chicago’s Moto and iNG has been working with the berry, and its active ingredient miraculin—a glycoprotein—for years in an effort to help chemo patients, diabetics and others improve the taste of food or reduce sugar in food. The result is Cantu’s The Miracle Berry Diet Cookbook. While the berries at the show still seemed like a novelty, will this taste-changing fruit help people eat less sugar one day? (Grub Street, 1/22)
Clean food movement draws venture capital interest: More healthful, and sustainable, alternatives to common foods are drawing attention of venture capital investment. One start-up is Hampton Creek Foods in San Francisco, where scientists are working on a plant-based substitute for eggs called Beyond Eggs. Another company, Beyond Meat, based in Los Angeles, is creating a soy-based chicken strip developed by two professors at the University of Missouri; this product, now found in some Bay Area Whole Foods, does an impressive job replicating the texture of chicken. We featured Beyond Meat in the New Healthful Culinary Trend Mapping Report, 2012. (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/27)
Fiji Water’s David Gilmore takes aim at new start up: The successful entrepreneur behind Fiji Water is packaging powder made from ginger grown on his personal Fijian island. Dubbed Wakaya Perfection, the pricy powder coming to market next year can be added to food, dissolved in drinks, added to bathwater and even rubbed into the face! Ginger has long been considered a powerful medicinal root; will this gourmet powder (and its accompanying marketing campaign) create a new wellness trend? (Forbes, 2/13)
Arcata Bakery offers beer-y treats: Boujie Baking Co. on California’s North Coast, has launched a line of “Beer-Kissed” items including an IPA Peanut Brittle, Two Brew Caramel Brownies and IPA Spicy Pralined Almonds. The bakery taps into local craft beer from Humboldt County’s Lost Coast Brewer, Mad River Brewing Co. and Redwood Curtain Brewing Co. We’ve seen this growing trend of beer in sweets on restaurant dessert menus and at this year’s Fancy Food Show. (Times-Standard (Eureka, Calif.), 2/19)
Seattle’s Best Coffee, from the freezer: In partnership with Inventure Foods, Inc., Seattle’s Best Coffee has launched Frozen Coffee Blends, the beverage category’s first blend-at-home beverage, in an effort to bring the coffeehouse experience to the home. Four flavors on offer are Coffee Chiller, Creamy Caramel, Very Vanilla and Mega Mocha. When prepared in the blender with fat-free milk, one serving counts 130 calories. (Company press release, 2/21)
Saffron Road’s Certified Halal Chapatti Wraps: Saffron Road, the halal frozen meal company, has expanded into all-natural frozen wraps that leverage consumers growing comfort with Indian and Asian flavors and ingredients. Built on whole-wheat chapatti bread, the wrap flavors include Indian-inspired Chana Saag made with chickpeas and spinach; Keema with Chicken and Basmati Rice from Pakistan, and Chicken Tikka Masala with tandoori-spice roasted chicken in a creamy tomato sauce. (Company press release, 2/5)
Lesser Evil Black Bean Chia Chips: We featured a close-up look at chia seeds in our most recent Culinary Trend Mapping Report, A Look Backward and Forward and were excited to see these chips come to market as one more application of the super seed. Milled chia seeds are added to the chip base for a double dose of nutrition coming from the omega-rich seeds and fiber- and protein-packed beans. Flavors hit on current trends, too: Crunchy Dill Pickle, Feta and Black Olive, Jalapeño While Cheddar and Southern Barbeque. (Company press release, 11/26/12)
Doughworks Truck brings doughnuts on wheels: A new food truck in Nashville is serving up fresh-made sweet and savory doughnuts along with breakfast sandwiches and burgers. A standout signature item is the Doughnut Sausage, made by threading breakfast sausages on a skewer, wrapping them in bacon, then encasing the whole thing in a swirl of doughnut dough before frying it until crispy brown. Don’t forget the bourbon maple bacon glaze dipping sauce! (Nashville Scene, 2/19)
Blue Star Donuts, Portland: The latest artisan, craft donut shop getting drool-worthy attention is Blue Star Donuts, a new concept from restaurateur Micah Camden. Donut varieties include those filled with Meyer Lemon or Key Lime Curd, one topped with Valrhona chocolate and stuffed with Bavarian cream and another PBJ variety, fill with jam and coated in peanut powder. Passion Fruit-Cocoa Nib and Blueberry-Bourbon-Basil donuts show the variety and creativity behind the yeasted and cake offerings. Truth be told, the menu sounds a lot like San Francisco’s Dynamo Donut, but when a trend takes off, things like this do happen. (Portland Mercury, 2/20)
Rabbit hopping onto U.S. menus: Is rabbit becoming “the great new sustainable meat for 2013” as Food & Wine magazine believes? It stands a good chance. The versatile protein is becoming more accepted in this whole-animal-loving era and local supplies are not hard to find. Small bones aside, chefs are finding ways of using rabbit in braises and grilled dishes. At Prairie Grass Café outside Chicago, rabbit saddle is featured with mustard sauce and a braised leg with spinach. In New Orleans, rabbits are familiar fare and can be found at Commander’s Palace in creative Creole and Cajun dishes. (Chicago Tribune [free registration required], 2/21)
Soon you’ll be able to get tofu burritos at Chipotle: In a bid to get the meatless vote, fast-casual leader Chipotle is testing tofu sofrito burritos in the Bay Area, with the tofu sourced from Oakland-based Hodo Soy Beanery, an artisan tofu factory producing organic and non-GMO soy bean products. The tofu comes shredded and will be braised with chipotles, roasted poblanos and spices. The filling, able to move to wraps, bowls and salads, is also vegan. (SF Weekly, 1/29)
Michael Symon on burgers: Celebrity chef and owner of the better-burger chain B Spot in Cleveland created a French Onion Burger for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. It’s made with hot mustard and a bacon and caramelized onion relish as well as Gruyère-horseradish fondue and crunchy onions. He added a custom burger bar to his 4-unit concept’s menu for diners wishing to build their own burgers and launched The Atomic Burger made with dried ghost pepper-powder, smoked habanero hot sauce, jalapeños, red onions, pepper jack cheese and cilantro. (Burger Business, 2/21)
Roe elevates everyday restaurant menus: The luxurious-seeming ingredient fish roe is becoming more accessible on menus as chefs add the salty, fun food to ceviche, crudo, eggs and salads. Soon-to-open Del Campo in D.C. will be adding trout roe to a charred radish salad served with a brown butter-citrus vinaigrette. Roe’s popping quality, familiar to sushi lovers, elevates dining experiences in ways consumers crave these days. Other chefs embrace the nose-to-tail aspect of using roe after buying whole fish. (NRN, 2/21)
Coffee gets upgrade at fast-food places: Burger King is the latest QSR to add an upgraded coffee program with a new line from Seattle’s Best Coffee, a division of Starbucks. Ten new drinks are on offer made with a lighter blend of beans including lattes, iced drinks and regular cups starting at $1. Like McCafe, rolled out in 2009, this type of program could steal share from more premium coffeehouses if the drinks please palates. (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/18)
This special edition of the Culinary Trend Mapping Report focuses on trend movement over the last four years, checking back on past trend profiles to track their movement across the Trend Map®. This trend review revealed four key drivers that have propelled food and beverage trends into the mainstream: Health & Wellness, Authentic Appeal, Artisan Appreciation, and Local & Sustainable. These drivers also illustrate the big ways we think differently about food in 2013, thanks to the growing food movement, spread of food media, proliferation of retail food outlets, changing demographics, and environmental sustainability issues.
We also explore the individual foods, flavors, ingredients and dishes that have grown in popularity, charting what was hot in 2008 compared to today. We map over thirty trends and take a close-up look at those that have had the biggest impact on the market (see below). The report concludes with a strategic breakdown of the future of the four key drivers and our predictions of future hot trends by daypart.